South Asian, Bengali-Speaking in Malaysia






Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The Bengali began migrating to Malaysia during the early 20th century. They were mainly from Calcutta, Dacca, Chittagong, and Midnapore areas of Bengal in India. Being well educated, the Bengali secured supervisory or medical assistant positions in the Malaysian plantations.

Today's third generations of Bengali are mostly professionals in a variety of fields. The Bengali is a small community, yet they have maintained their Bengali language and rich cultural practices. Marriages are still arranged by parents, with consent from the potential couple. Marriages are often arranged with Bengali from other countries. A growing number of interracial marriages among other races and other languages are influencing this close-knit community. Their community is multi-lingual. As part of a larger North Indian Hindu community living in Malaysia, the Bengali often join Punjabi Hindus, Sindhi Hindus, and Gujarati Hindus in many celebrations and temple functions. They are well-versed in Hindi and often use Hindi or English on such occasions. The younger generation is comfortable using English and Malay, although Bengali is still being used at home.

What Are Their Beliefs?

There are approximately 2,500 Bengali Hindus living in Malaysia. Together they celebrate three major Bengali Festivals: Durga Pooja (worship of the goddess of supreme power) usually in October; Kali Pooja (worship of the goddess of destruction) celebrated during Deepavali (a Hindu festival of lights celebrating good over evil) in November; and Poila Boishakh (Bengali New Year) celebrated in April. Durga Pooja is celebrated every year from the 4th to the 9th day of Navaratri (a nine day festival dedicated to the three main deities Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati celebrated by Hindus observing prayers and fasting) in October. The goddess Durga is worshiped as the Divine Mother rather than a god of supreme power during Durga Pooja. During the festival prayers, devotional songs, and evening festivities will take place each day. On the 8th day, young girls who have not reached puberty are worshiped and are likened to the Divine Mother. On the 10th (and final) day, devotees dip clay statues of the Divine Mother into the sea to signify that she is part of the universe once more. Finally, those celebrating will join in Bijoya Dashami (a grand feast for victory) where differences and grievances are forgiven and forgotten between friends and family and rejoicing takes place for the next five days. Lakhi or Lakshmi Pooja (the worship of the goddess of wealth) is celebrated on the 15th day after Navaratri. The Bengali fast until the next day for the prosperity of their community.

What Are Their Needs?

There are social issues that need to be addressed among the younger generations of Bengali. There are groups that have been formed to ensure that the present youth and future generations do not lose touch with their rich cultural heritage, beliefs, and language. Bengali language classes are being held for adults and children who wish to learn.

Prayer Points

* Pray that their efforts to maintain their cultural heritage will not further isolate them.
* Pray for committed believers who will be sensitive both to the Bengali culture and their spiritual needs as well.

Profile Source:   Southeast Asia Link - SEALINK   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

Video Links:
The Burning Heart
People Name General South Asian, Bengali-Speaking
People Name in Country South Asian, Bengali-Speaking
Population in Malaysia 28,000
World Population 1,559,000
Countries 16
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Bangla-Bhasa, Bangladeshi, Bengali, Muslims, Hindu
Country Malaysia
Region Southeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 37  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Bengali (28,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Bengali 28,000
For Primary Language: Bengali

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1800-1980)
New Testament Yes   (1801-1984)
Complete Bible Yes   (1809-2000)
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Bengali Bible stories Audio Recordings
Bengali Language Film Film / Video
Bible Visuals General
Bible-in-Your-Language Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Mussulmani-Bangla, Kitabul Mukkados Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Standard Bangla Common Language Text / Printed Matter
Bible: কিতাবুল মোকাদ্দস Text / Printed Matter
Bibles, Bible League Text / Printed Matter
Christ for the Nations Text / Printed Matter
EasyBibles Text / Printed Matter
Following Jesus (India, JF Project) Film / Video
Four Spiritual Laws General
General Ministry Resources Film / Video
God's Story Video Film / Video
Gods Simple Plan General
Got Questions Ministry General
International Bible Society Text / Printed Matter
Jesus Film: view in Bengali Film / Video
Magdalena (Jesus Film Project) Film / Video
Primary Religion: Islam

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
15.00 %
85.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: COMIBAM / Sepal  
Map Source: Southeast Asia Link - SEALINK   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Video Source: Create International
Profile Source: Southeast Asia Link - SEALINK   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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